RDB to cede its ‘income-generating’ assets to the private sector

The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) will soon relinquish its income generating products to the private sector and put more emphasis on ‘policy and advocacy’, a top official has said. John Gara, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of RDB told a gathering of business leaders, that RDB would soon give up assets that attract revenue like national parks and some Information Technology (IT) activities to the private sector.
Gara (left) listens to Sam Nkusi of Altech Stream (right) while Khaled Mikkawi and Andrew Rugege both of MTN look on. (Photo/ D. K. Musoke)
Gara (left) listens to Sam Nkusi of Altech Stream (right) while Khaled Mikkawi and Andrew Rugege both of MTN look on. (Photo/ D. K. Musoke)

The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) will soon relinquish its income generating products to the private sector and put more emphasis on ‘policy and advocacy’, a top official has said.

John Gara, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of RDB told a gathering of business leaders, that RDB would soon give up assets that attract revenue like national parks and some Information Technology (IT) activities to the private sector.

“We have created two cross-cutting departments. One will manage all revenue generating assets, with the view that once the private sector gets interested we spin the assets to them. Another will continue with investment promotion,” Gara said.

“We decided that all these departments that generate income will be merged into one so that RDB pushes and focuses on its policy and advocacy role. RDB would not want to duplicate the work of line-ministries. We want to inform line-ministries that these are the impediments,” he added. 

Gara was the keynote speaker at the first ‘Business Breakfast’ attended by a cross-section of CEOs from banking, telecoms and Private Sector Federation (PSF) among others.

The inaugural function which is to be held on a monthly basis was organised by G.I Sororoa.

Gara’s comments come a few months after one of RDB’s income generating assets was relinquished to a South African private player.

Recently RDB signed a contractual agreement with African Parks Networks (APN) to formally manage Akagera National Park. The partnership agreement was signed by the RDB CEO and Peter Fearnhead, the CEO of APN in December, 2009.

The other income generating assets that RDB-Tourism and Conservation department manages include the Virunga National Park— a natural habitat for some 600 mountain gorillas, the rainforests of Nyungwe National Park—home to rare chimpanzees and bird tourism, among others.

Once implemented the move would also see RDB relinquish the management of Kigali wireless broadband network (Wibro) and the Kigali Metropolitan Network (KMN) to private management. Both projects, meant to provide high speed affordable Internet connections in Kigali and across the country were a brain child of RDB-IT, the Information Technology department of RDB. 

The CEO also added that the on-going restructuring process of RDB has seen the creation of new cluster areas of interest.

”Because we are a public institution, with a private sector mentality We have added agriculture, services and trade and manufacturing on top of tourism, Information Technology (IT) and human and institutional development,” Gara said.

RDB is a one-stop agency formed after a merger of 8 agencies to facilitate and support local and foreign investors in all types of industries.

As the government institution that fast tracks Rwanda’s development, RDB was created to inject a private-sector mentality into government, to become more efficient, more productive, and more responsive to the needs of investors.

Henry Rugamba, the Managing Associate of G.I. Sororoa, the organisers of the event said that the business breakfast will create a networking opportunity for business leaders, CEOs in the private and those in the public service.

“The hosting of business breakfast meetings is a long tradition that has stood the test of time across all continents. It is viewed as one of the most effective tools in the building of a corporate culture in most countries,” Rugamba said.

The business breakfast is also seen as an effort to cultivate a corporate culture in Rwanda, something that will eventually boost the number of private companies in the country.

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